Options for Filing Form 1 Applications for Firearms with “Stabilizing Braces”
If you possess a firearm with a “stabilizing brace” that the ATF has now classified as a short-barreled rifle, it needs to be registered within 120-days from the date of publication in the Federal Register. The ATF has provided a 120-day tax forebearance from the date of publication for registering a firearm equipped with a “stabilizing brace” with a barrel of less than 16 inches or an overall length of less than 26 inches. The deadline to file the free (no tax) Form 1 is May 31, 2023.
OPTION 1: If you have “documentary evidence” that your trust owned the firearm before January 31, 2023, you can efile the free (no tax) Form 1 as a trust. When the approval of the Form 1 comes back to you, the approval will show that the trust owns that firearm which will then be a registered short-barreled rifle (SBR). “Documentary evidence” includes an Assignment Form signed prior to January 31, 2023. If the form does not have a space for a notary to sign, then it needs to be signed prior to January 31, 2023, but it does not have to be notarized for a trust in most states. If the form does have a space for a notary to sign, then it needs to be notarized prior to January 31, 2023. An SBR registered by filing the free (no tax) Form need not be engraved by the applicant.
OPTION 2: If you do not have “documentary evidence” that your trust owned the firearm prior to January 31, 2023, you can still file the free (no tax) Form 1 as an individual. If you want to transfer it into your trust after the Form 1 is approved, you can file a Form 4 Application and pay the $200 tax to transfer the item into your trust. The engraving requirement is waived for the free (no tax) Form 1. If you do not want to engrave your firearm, this may be your best option even if you have to file as an individual. But it will take much longer to transfer it to your trust with the Form 4 later.
OPTION 3: You can remove the stabilizing brace from the firearm (see ATF “options” below) and file a regular “paid” Form 1 using your trust. A “paid” Form 1 requires a tax payment of $200 and in that Application you are requesting permission to make an NFA firearm, such as an SBR. After you receive the approval of the Form 1, then you are required to engrave the name of the trust and the city and state on the firearm. If your main concern is having the firearm in your trust as soon as possible, then this is the best option.
OPTION 4: The ATF provides these “options” for possessors of SBR’s with stabilizing braces:
1. Remove the short barrel and attach a 16-inch or longer rifled barrel to the firearm.
2. Permanently remove and dispose of, or alter, the “stabilizing brace” such that it cannot be reattached.
3. Turn the firearm into your local ATF office.
4. Destroy the firearm.
5. Register the weapon (see discussions above).